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PICA. By Emilee Blum. What is Pica?. Pica can be classified as an eating disorder. It causes a person to develop an uncontrollable desire to eat substances that have little or no nutritive value in large amounts. Conditions for these actions to be considered pica:

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PICA

By Emilee Blum


What is pica
What is Pica?

  • Picacan be classified as an eating disorder.

  • It causes a person to develop an uncontrollable desire to eat substances that have little or no nutritive value in large amounts.

  • Conditions for these actions to be considered pica:

  • They must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate (some children eat non edible substances because of curiosity, but not craving)

  • Not part of a cultural practice and severe enough to cause clinical attention.


What causes pica
What causes pica?

  • A deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may lead to pica. The body will try to replace the low levels of nutrients through “food”.

  • Mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia can develop pica to cope

  • People with eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa may attempt to ease hunger by eating nonfood substances to get a feeling of fullness

  • Cultural factors — in families, religions, or groups in which eating nonfood substances is a learned practice

  • Parental neglect, lack of supervision, or food deprivation — often seen in children living in poverty

  • Developmental problems, such as mental retardation, autism, other developmental disabilities, or brain abnormalities

  • Pregnancy due to the increase in iron demand by the developing baby.


What do they eat
What do they eat?

Some of the most common examples of items consumed items

are:

  • Starch (both laundry starch and corn starch)

  • Ice

  • Dirt

  • Clay

  • Paper and wood

  • Wool/hair


How does pica affects the brain
How does pica affects the brain?

  • The specific causes of pica are unknown, but certain conditions and situations can increase a person's risk:

  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as iron or zinc, that may trigger specific cravings (however, the nonfood items craved usually don't supply the minerals lacking in the person's body)


Negative effects of pica
Negative Effects of Pica

  • Pica is a serious eating disorder that can result in severe health problems such as:

  • Lead poisoning

  • Intestinal blockages

  • Parasitic infections

  • Choking

  • Malnutrition/Starvation

  • Infection

  • Death-if left untreated


How to identify pica
How To Identify Pica

  • There is no specific test to decide whether someone has pica they can only:

  • Test your blood for low levels of zinc or iron

  • Test your blood for lead or arsenic poisoning


Treatment for pica
Treatment for Pica

  • This may include Iron supplementation for Anemia

  • Mental Health Counseling

  • Medication to help with OCD or psychological disorders

  • Removal of items from the surroundings


Prognosis
Prognosis

  • Prognosis success varies. In many cases, the disorder lasts several months, then disappears on its own. In some cases, it may continue into the teen years or adulthood, especially when it occurs with developmental disorders.


Sources
Sources

  • http://www.healthline.com/health/pica#Causes

  • http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/914765-overview#aw2aab6b4

  • Stump, Sylvia. "Neurological and Mental Conditions." Nutrition and diagnosis-related care. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. 254. Print.

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002505/


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